MANILA – The Palace has responded to Senator Leila de Lima's ''birthday wish'' for President Rodrigo Duterte to leave her alone so she focus on her job as a legislator.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said he hopes De Lima is able to sleep soundly following Duterte's allegations that she was involved in the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), as demonstrated in his matrix.
''According to President Duterte, Senator De Lima has been having nightmares. So my birthday wish to the good senator is I hope she sleeps soundly tonight and thereafter,'' Panelo told reporters.
The senator, who will be celebrating her 57th birthday on Saturday, refused to answer Duterte's allegation that it was her "sexcapades" with her former driver which got her linked to the drug trade in the NBP.
"Please, Mr. President...I'll be 57 years old and still young. Sana po sa mga matitira ko pang mga taon dito, mahaba-haba pa naman ho siguro yan, God-willing, dito sa mundong ito, makabuluhan naman ang aking mga gagawin rather than ito na napipilitan akong sumagot sa mga kabulastugan na ito (I wish to still have a long life, God-willing, and I hope to have a meaningful life and not waste time answering nonsense accusations)," De Lima said on Thursday.
READ: Furious de Lima slams Duterte 'drug matrix': Is this a joke?
But Panelo said Duterte's tirade against the former human rights chief is just the beginning. ''Patikim pa lang iyun,'' he said.
Panelo also defended the supposed pieces of evidence Duterte has against De Lima, including an alleged wiretapped conversation of the senator and her alleged driver-lover.
The driver-lover, Ronnie Dayan, is accused of being De Lima's link to the drug lords inside the NBP.
''It does not remove and/or alter fact that there was a taped conversation, and there is truth to what you hear in that conversation,'' Panelo said.